Sky-high prices put Aussie resorts on a slippery slope
COMEwinter, there is one regular fireside topic among ski enthusiasts: the high price of adult one-day lift passes in Australia.
This year, line honours go to Perisher at $109, but other NSW and Victorian resorts sit close behind. Thredbo’s lift pass is a pricey $107, Falls Creek and Hotham are charging $106 and Mt Buller $104.
Victoria’s Mt Baw Baw has the cheapest tickets at $65.
We are right to be concerned about the high cost of taking to the slopes. Australian resorts hold three of the top four places in a 2010 study by the Australian Alpine Club of lift prices in seven countries. Each year the club arrives at the same conclusion: Aussies are paying over the odds to ski at home.
The World Lift Ticket Price Report, which compares tariffs at 550 ski fields in 40 countries, has similar findings in relation to the cost of six-day lift passes (popular for week-long holidays).Vail in the US tops the most recent list but Australia often takes this dubious honour in some categories.
Why is the cost of skiing down under so high? A lack of competition — there are nine big resorts across Australia, compared with 22 in Colorado, for example — may be one reason, while our comparatively low skier numbers is another.
Costly snow-making and slope development are also necessary, given our unpredictable natural falls.
Snow sports involve pricey accoutrements, which can’t be ignored. And for an activity that usually lasts the whole day, skiing is seen by many as fair value for money; those who choose to ski locally simply seek the most costeffective deals to minimise the impact on the hip pocket.
With our currency flying high, it is becoming increasingly obvious that better deals can be found elsewhere. And while prospects are already good for this season, prohibitive local prices may prove a mountain too high for many skiers.